Bernardo was born into a wealthy but dysfunctional family. His mother Marilyn, who had been adopted by well-to-do Toronto lawyer Gerald Eastman and his wife Elizabeth, was raised in a stable household. His father, Kenneth, was the son of an English woman and an Italian immigrant who created a highly successful marble and tile business, but was abusive to his wife and children. Instead of entering the family business, Kenneth Bernardo became an accountant. After her father had disapproved of an earlier boyfriend, Eastman married Bernardo in 1960. Like his father, Kenneth Bernardo was said to be abusive. Marilyn, after having given birth to a son and a daughter, began seeing a former boyfriend. She became pregnant and gave birth to Paul Kenneth Bernardo on August 27, 1964. Kenneth Bernardo tolerated his wife's affair and is listed as the biological father on Paul's birth certificate.
In 1975, Kenneth Bernardo fondled a girl and was charged with child molestation; he also sexually abused his own daughter. Bernardo's mother became depressed over her husband's abuse, withdrew from family life and lived in the basement of their Scarborough home. Though the elder children felt the effects of the emotional and mental turmoil, young Paul appeared to be unscathed by it. In his book Lethal Marriage, Nick Pron describes the young Bernardo: "He was always happy. A young boy who smiled a lot. And he was so cute, with his dimpled good looks and sweet smile, that many of the mothers just wanted to pinch him on the cheek whenever they saw him. He was the perfect child they all wanted: polite, well mannered, doing well in school, so sweet in his Boy Scout uniform."
Following an argument between his parents when Bernardo was 16, his mother... [continua]
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